The Canucks entered Saturday’s game needing to take advantage of another non-playoff bound team but once again failed to capitalize, losing to the Dallas Stars by a score of 4-3 in overtime.
The Dallas Stars presented somewhat of a quandary for the Canucks.
Despite finding themselves in 10th place in the Western Conference and currently on the outside looking in on a playoff spot, the Stars (along with the Columbus Blue Jackets somehow…) have been on fire recently. But they also lost to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night by a score of 4-0
So what are the Stars exactly? Are they the good or not?
I only ask because Vancouver’s performance these days seem to hinge on deciding the perceived inferiority of their opponents.
Well, either way, the Canucks blew yet another golden opportunity to gain valuable points on the Los Angeles Kings by losing to the Stars 4-3 in overtime.
I need a SixPack…
Final score: Stars 4 – Canucks 3
- Nick Bonino (14th goal) – Assisted by Radim Vrbata and Chris Tanev
- Chris Higgins (11th goal) – Assisted by Chris Tanev and Dan Hamhuis
- Radim Vrbata (30th goal) – Assisted by Nick Bonino and Daniel Sedin
- Jamie Benn (28th goal) – Assisted by Tyler Seguin and Jason Demers
- Patrick Eaves (11th goal) – Assisted by Alex Goligoski and Jason Spezza
- Tyler Seguin (34th goal) – Assisted by Trevor Daley and Cody Eakin
- John Klingberg (11th goal) – Assisted by Trevor Daley and Cody Eakin
1. The East is Trash. At Least for the Kings
Before getting into tonight’s proceedings, I’d like to get something off my chest.
The Eastern Conference is trash. At least compared to the Western Conference.
Now, I should say that I am only making this statement out of sheer bitterness and frustration from a Canucks perspective. The East has some of the best players in the NHL and teams like the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings are fantastic. But compared to the West?
Not even close.
The Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Los Angeles Kings are currently in a heated battle over the second and third spots in the Pacific Division. From a Vancouver perspective (and every other team in the Western Conference for that matter), the Kings losing and Flames winning is in our best interest.
So with the Kings facing a three game trip out East, including two games against what is supposed to be the best in the conference, what happens? The Kings win all three games and make it look easy in the process.
But what happens are soon as the Kings come back to the West?
They lose 4-1 to the Minnesota Wild.
Go Wild Go!
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) March 29, 2015
Thankfully, the Kings don’t have any games left against the Eastern Conference. They do have two games against the Edmonton Oilers, who all of a sudden have confidence in themselves and have been winning games.
What a concept.
2. Who’s to Blame for the Terrible Starts?
Another game, another first goal given up by the Vancouver Canucks.
Jamie Benn, off a Tyler Seguin rebound. 1-0 Stars.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 29, 2015
It’s a disturbing trend (23 out of 31 games they have given up the first goal) that has been ongoing for a quite a while now. Maybe everyone has just become accustomed to the Canucks barely showing up for the opening faceoff as it hasn’t had that bad of an impact in the standings. But seriously, what gives?
Here’s what Nick Bonino had to say about it to CBC’s Scott Oake during the first intermission:
We have so much momentum and so much intensity that we kinda get out of position a little bit.
Yes, you are definitely out of position. But intensity and energy?
Give me a break.
Does the blame fall of Whiteboard Willie Desjardins? He doesn’t seem like the motivating speech kind of coach. Maybe that doesn’t matter because John Tortorella was and well, look how that turned out.
Or it is the leadership group’s fault? The Sedins don’t exactly exude intensity, but they are not the only voices in that locker room.
There doesn’t seem to be a concrete answer.
You can swing this anyway you want. You can call the Canucks resilient for being able to overcome early deficits and ultimately triumph in the face of adversity.
But let’s call it for what it is. They are unprepared to start hockey games and it has come back to burn them on more than one occasion.
Bo Horvat appeared to have given the Canucks a two-goal lead early in the second period, but once again, the NHL proved how inept and inconsistent their officiating is.
And no, it wasn’t incidental contact with the goaltender. It was Jannik Hansen being held by Dallas’ Trevor Daley. Because Daley had a hold of Hansen, he couldn’t move and prevented Lehtonen from making the save.
Or the better explanation of what happened:
problem for lehtonen wasn't hansen. He got his stick caught behind his own dman. pic.twitter.com/ppkF3hX6do
— Jason Botchford (@botchford) March 29, 2015
I’m all for calling players for running into goaltenders. In fact, I think it should be called more often. But when it’s the other team causing players to run into the goalies, then the refs have to use their heads.
This was a stupid call.
— Mike Stefanuk (@Mike_Stefanuk) March 29, 2015
Nobody has any clue whether that's a good call or not. This league has zero consistency.
— rollingpucks (@rollingpucks) March 29, 2015
Want to talk about consistency? On the Canucks second goal of the game, Alex Burrows deliberately hit Daley into Lehtonen which knocked his stick away and was a big reason the Canucks notched a power play goal.
LOLoltrollol Burrows … love that guy.
— Ellie Nuck (@_EllieNuck_) March 29, 2015
Now that was a goal that deserved to be called off.
4. BS – Part 2
The Stars’ second and tying goal mid-way through the third period came on the heels of one of the most baffling icing calls I’ve ever seen.
The puck hadn’t even crossed the line and it’s debatable if it even would have. Yet, the linesman decided to make the icing call and off of the ensuing the faceoff, the Dallas Stars tied the game at two…
On an AWFUL icing call.
— Greg Hicks (@thegregulator10) March 29, 2015
Terrible call by the linesman leads to a tie game. 2-2
— Brent Butt (@BBonCanucks) March 29, 2015
They should have to wait until the puck crosses the line to call an icing… Its not a judgement call, stop making your own rules. #NHL
— DJ Heer (@DJHeerMusic) March 29, 2015
So, pretty much a consensus on the icing.
I guess we can just chalk this latest blunder up to a hesitation and inexperience with the new hybrid icing rule that was introduced this season.
Can we have a coach's challenge on icings? Terrible icing call precedes tying goal for Dallas.
— Iain MacIntyre (@imacSportsnet) March 29, 2015
5. Chris Tanev Earning Those Dollars
During his recent contract negotiations that resulted in a new five-year contract, the big knock on Chris Tanev had been his lack of production from the blue line. Not that scoring is what makes Tanev a premier defender in this league, but it is an area for improvement.
Tonight however, Tanev got in on the party, showing his vision and collecting two assists, proving why he was signed to a five-year 22.25 million dollar contract.
Chris Tanev’s vision > The Avengers’ Vision
— Daniel Wagner (@passittobulis) March 29, 2015
6. Radim Vrbadass
The Canucks were down by a goal with time ticking away. Enter Radim Vrbata with his 30th goal of the year to send the game to overtime:
GIF Vrbata goal pic.twitter.com/hqrawRvfks
— steph (@myregularface) March 29, 2015
As amazing as this goal was, it was completely tarnished by the Canucks eventually losing in overtime thanks to a horrific and ill-time line change by Nick Bonino.
As much as this loss stings, at least we got the best Canucks-related gif of all-time:
— Greg Balloch (@GregBalloch) March 29, 2015